BROOKLYN, NY - Gabriel Ynoa doesn't speak much English, but you won't need an interpreter to see…
Ynoa Is A Strike Machine
"I was feeling confident," Ynoa noted about his success on the road, "and I was working through all of my pitches - my fastball, changeup, slider, and curve — and I just worked with my catcher.
"Believe it or not, I'm 19 and through the faith of God, that's how I'm throwing good and why I'm successful."
Ynoa's faith is not the only reason why he's so successful on the mound. His stature [6-foot-2 and 190 pounds] adds to his success, as well as, having prepared before the season's start. His pitching coach, Marc Valdez attests to his success.
"I ran a lot to prepare, just running and throwing," Ynoa stated. "I wanted to keep in shape and keep my arm in shape."
"The kid is phenomenal [and] he's only 19 years old," Valdez said. "What he does like no other is he repeats his delivery. If he was in the States, like a senior in high school or a freshman in college, eyes would be on him."
Ynoa's consistency in delivery comes from his knowledge of the game and his raw talent. Cyclones' Manager, Rich Donnelly, sees Ynoa as a talent unlike any other. Ynoa's presence on the mound remains a representation of the bullpen's strength this season.
"There aren't too many 19 year old guys that can spot a fastball like he can," Donnelly noted. "He's a strike-thrower, he's a competitor, and he knows how to pitch."
Ynoa started his minor league career in 2009 when he signed as a minor league free agent. In 2010, while playing for the DSL Mets, Ynoa pitched 72.1 innings and struck out 35 batters. During the 2011 season, Ynoa played for the GCL Mets and was then transferred to Kingsport where he had his first professional save with a relief lasting 4.0 innings.
As Ynoa has progressed through the minor leagues, so has his ability to throw strikeouts. His capability of striking out batters is obvious just by watching him pitch, but also when looking at the numbers. Over a total of 48.0 innings pitched, Ynoa has struck out 37 batters, and in a total of nine appearances, Ynoa has been the starting pitcher for all of them.
"We're very proud that we have him," Valdez said. "He's a guy that commands all of his pitches. At times, he throws almost too many strikes."
"When I'm on the mound," Ynoa remarked, "I always try to get ahead in count and I do that with my fastball. I have a good fastball, which is consistent."
His fastball ranges in the low 90s and he has been working on improving his breaking ball the most this season.
"His fastball is around 90-91," Valdez said. "He'll top out at 92-93 if he's feeling really good. He's working very hard on his breaking ball, which needs to get better, but he repeats. He spots up his fastball and changeup."
Ynoa's talents on the mound have not been overlooked seeing as though he is one of four Cyclones picked to play in the New York-Penn League's 8th Annual All-Star Game on August 14th.
"I'm very excited," Ynoa said right before the break, "to play the All-Star Game—I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing."
"I'm not a big fan of the All-Star game during the season because they're exhibition games," Donnelly noted, "but I think it's wonderful for the kids. Ynoa wants to start and I think he'll really do good."
As for next season, Valdez and Donnelly both see the possibility of Ynoa progressing through the organization. They both see his age, potential, and talent as assets to the Mets organization and to his pitching career.
"Ynoa throws strikes," Donnelly said. "He's a strike machine. There aren't too many guys that can throw as many strikes as he can. Last year he walked five guys the whole year - only five. This year, it's pretty close to that. He's a great pitcher and he has a lot of potential."
"There's no doubt in my mind that he's gonna be starting next season," Valdez said. "Hopefully he moves up next year. Our goal is to win this championship this year and his goal is to be one of the big starters that pitches in the playoffs. And next year he's trying to make a full-season club."
Ynoa's goals are specific: he wants to start. His goal for starting also encompasses playing for a full-season club as Valdez had noted. With the way this season has gone for Ynoa, it would be no surprise if his goals became reality.
"If it were up to me," Ynoa said, "I'd want to be starting in St. Lucie next season."
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